I'm new to this forum, but not new to reefing so I will try to help you a bit here, my first post haha!
Use as much as you like, there are pros and cons to it all. My current reef tank has no sand in it (bare bottom). I have ran deep sand beds (dsb
) which is about 6 inches, and then the 1-3 inch beds, so have tried it all. Shallow beds .5 inches...etc
Bare bottom is easy to keep clean, and with it you can have a lot for flow in the tank with no worry of the sand getting blown all over the place. Also nutrients won't be trapped in the sand causing problems with phosphates etc. Another nice plus to BB is that if frags are flipped over by snails or fish they don't get buried in the sand, and the corals will encrust across the glass and looks nice then as well. Things like montipora, or zoas etc. It sort of looks strange the first month or two, but then the coraline takes over and it all turns purple and coral starts growing on the glass and then you don't even notice it. I was talking to my wife about it the other day as a matter of fact and she was saying she hated it at first always having sand before but now it looked like every other tank with sand in it.
1-4 inch beds are the toughest to maintain. They are not deep enough to have the denitrification zones, and not shallow enough to easily clean. Sand beds of this depth normally are a huge nutrient sink and can raise PO3 levels in a tank cause problems like cyano
, and hair algae etc. This depth is most aesthetically pleasing for most people and what you normally see in a reef. Just know that you will have to take steps to keep the sand clean at this depth. High flow, stirring the sand etc will help. Also feed lightly. Things like conchs, snails, and certain fish may help but generally can't do enough.
Deep sand beds are neat in my opinion, but they can look strange in some tanks. You get a huge array of micro fauna that you don't see with any other type of sand bed. With a dsb
you don't stir or do anything. You load up the sand and then wait for nature to do it's job. A dsb
will actually lower your nitrates and phosphates if set up and maintained correctly. There is a LOT of info on dsb
on the web and some love it some hate it, just like with BB tanks. You can read up on the pros and cons if you want just google it or there are very very extensive talks about it on a site called wetwebmedia.com in their forums.
There are also sand bed calculators online that you can google search. Just put in your tank dims and the depth you like and it will give you a ball park.
I do agree with the poster above. Fiji Pink is my favorite (it doesn't look pink so not sure why they call it that). Another thing that will make a difference in the actual weight is if you get sugar fine sand or the larger grains or even crushed coral. I would say stay away from crushed coral and go with either sugar fine or a bit bigger. I like fine sand for sand beds personally because it seems like uneaten food tends to sit on top better where the larger grains make a more porous area and food and fish poo are more likely to settle in between the sand grains and cause bigger issues. But the sugar fine is also a little tougher to keep from being blown around the tank as well. Especially in the begining when it's fresh. Once it's in the tank a month or two it settles down because it gets a bio film on each grain of sand making it a bit heavier so more likely to stay settled.
OK, sorry for such a long winded answer, but from the sound of your question it sounds like maybe you need to think about a few other things. If you want, you can tell us what size tank it is and what depth you would like. Read and do a little more research on dsb
, vs bb vs ssb
. That may help you with your choice. There are also some great books. My favorite is a book by Robert Fenner called Reef Invertebrates. It talks about everything from snails and sponges down to sand and sand beds and was one of the first reefing books I bought and I have bought a few more since in the hobby because I still like reading bits here and there in it. Great great info in that book for new and old reef hobbyists.